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Hello folks.

I'm new to this forum. I am also new to hunting. My father was not a hunter and no one I knew growing up with was in to hunting, but I always loved shotguns and the idea of hunting never left my mind.

I am a fisherman and love the outdoors. I decided I want to get in to bird hunting.

My plan is to buy a shotgun, the one I inherited from my father in law is a Winchester model 12, 16 ga with a full choke, not suitable to shoot with not-tox like steel I was told by a gunsmith.

I have spent hours and hours doing research in shotguns and hunting in this and other forums and I think i want to star hunting Doves and Quails first. I believe a 20ga semi auto in my price range ($800) should be good enough, (Weatherby sa-08 or Mossberg sa-20). Originally I wanted an O/U but the ones in my price range are either a little heavy or not to my liking.

Some people tell me I should buy a 12ga and be done, but I would prefer not to have to deal with the recoil for such small game like dove and quail "if" a 20 gets the job done efficiently. As I get more in to it and look for larger birds I would get a 12.

My question is; what is the likelihood that I can find some birds to shoot in BLM lands with in 2 to 3hrs from San Diego county? I bought all the maps that show private land VS BLM so I don't trespass. I can drive further eventually too, but to get started I'd rather stay with in the range of 3hrs drive.

I prefer not to have to pay $100+ to go shoot a handful of dove with outfitters and such. I enjoy being outside walking and exploring and hopefully come back home with a couple of birds...how hard can it be in CA?...(Sarcasm).

Am I wasting my money buying a shotgun, ammo and extras to find it out that is very hard to find some birds on my own? Is it that Southern Ca is just mostly private land and the BLM lands are dry and with no game? Is it that the only way to get some birds in this area is by going to outfitters?

I would hate to get all I need to go find birds to later realize is not worth my time and put the shotgun in the garage and not use it.

If you live in the area, any guidance you can provide would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Hello Zero,

Just saw your post today & wish to share some tips on places to scout in SoCal.

I have dove hunted off & on south of Calexico a few hundred yards off the border wall with good success on the 2nd opener… Opening day can be a "war zone"…. just look for an area with trees & areas not posted.

Opening day, I hunt in Owens Valley & have had good results there, but be aware of folks with tunnel vision that shoot @ everything. I just try to stay a couple of hundred yards away from those folks.

I have seen quail in both these locations; note that quail in Owens Valley opens 09/08/18 for mountain quail only & all quail 10/28.

Also check out:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/clevelan ... rdb5275787

You may need an "outdoor pass".

PM me if any questions.

Take care.

…pete
 

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Take your 16 and either A- have the chokes opened up, or B- have some choke tubes installed
 
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